The Christians

Christians, between the Council from Niceea and the Great Separation

The main cause for the Great Separation was the idea, sustained by the bishops in Rome, that they have the first rights over all the Christian churches in the world. According to their vision, the bishops from Rome should be recognized as direct followers of Peter. This idea is based on a text from Mattews' book, where a discussion between Jesus and Peter is described, regarding the ownership of the symbolic succesoral key.

The great theoreticians of the II and IIIrd centuries accepted the outstanding role of Peter, but pleeded for an equality of all bishops from East and West. At the Council from Niceea (325 a.d.) the equality in right for the four main Christian centers, Rome, Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antiohia, was recognised as such. But, in the year 375 a.d. the Rome's bishop - Damasus I - promoted again the idea that Rome should be on top, raising the rank of his residence to "Holy Chair".

In 383 a.d., the Roman Empire was divided in two: western part with Rome as capital and oriental part with Constantinopole as capital. The new special status of the Roman church was immediately recognised by the Roman emperor, Theodosius.

The bishop Leo I was the first Pope. In 445 the emperor of the Westen Roman Empire, Valentinianus III, officialy confirmed the status of the Roman bishops and the special rights over their territories.

In 451, the Pope Leon I protested against the decision of the Calcedon Council, who gave equal judgement powers to the bishops from Rome and Constantinopole concerning the religious matters. From this moment on the struggle for power and for dividing the areas of influences begun.

At the Constantinopole Council from 680 the theory of special rights for Rome was rejected by the most of the participants, agreeing that equalty should exist between all the bishops and patriarchs.

Under the Pope Stefan II appeared "Patrimonium Petri", the first religious state from the world, having the capital in Rome. Through this another step to separation from East was made. Another serious incident happened in 863, when the orthodox bishop Photius was under trial from catholic church.

The final separation between the two churches, also known as Great Separation, took place in 1054, during the reign of Pope Leo IX and Patriarch of Constantinopole, Michael Cerularius. In the summer of 1054, in the moment when the orthodox mess was about to begin in the "Saint Sophia" cathedral from Constantinopole, the cardinal Humbert, along with other two special messengers from the Pope, came until the altar and put there a sealed document. While exiting the cathedral he said: "God will see and make a judgement!". The document was a Pope's decision of banning the Patriarch, the Constantinopole and the Eastern Church out of religious life and of receiving the "divine spirit" through communion with the Catholic Church.

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